Local authorities,  councils and even the government are being urged to provide more education around ultra low emission zones (ULEZ).

The call comes after the problems and issues raised around the expansion of London’s ULEZ scheme.

Caura, who provide a car management app, believes such mobile technology can be a simple and effective way to provide necessary information and guidance.

With fines and charges increasing all the time for such areas, drivers need to be fully aware of the facts and figures in order to be able to make the best decisions for them.

Understanding updates

The plea follows an independent poll, conducted by Caura in conjunction with YouGov the week before the ULEZ expansion roll out. This found that only 56% of drivers knew what the ULEZ (original, launched in 2019 and enlarged area) was. Even more worrying, considering the context,  81% of those polled were also unaware of what Euro Emissions Standard their vehicle was.

These results highlight a need for better education of drivers, and resources to help them navigate the new requirements and potential charges.

Caura conclude that the independent study shows that local councils and officials must do more. Technology has a huge. role to play in providing the information needed.

Crashing systems

The expanded ULEZ area – which includes Greater London and the UK’s largest airport, London Heathrow – began on 29th August. Drivers then looked to the Transport for London (TfL) website for the necessary information. However, they were met by server errors and queues to get to the homepage. It revealed the failures to educate effectively in advance and provide easily accessible information. YouGov polling shows that drivers do not have the knowledge or enough tools available to them to be clued up.

The YouGov survey, conducted the week preceding the London ULEZ expansion (22 – 24 August 2023), highlighted that just 56% of respondents knew what the requirements to enter the ULEZ were. These rules include: Euro 4 and above petrol and Euro 6 and above diesel vehicles.

Over 80% of drivers didn’t even know what Euro Emissions Standard their car was at all.

Gaining the knowledge

Looking further afield, outside of the UK’s Capital city, the problems get even worse.

Just 19% of drivers polled felt they knew what the new, super stringent Oxford-based Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) requirements were.

Furthermore, just 29% of those polled knew what the emissions requirements are for driving in a Clean Air Zone (CAZ).  Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Portsmouth, Newcastle and Gateshead, and Sheffield already run zones. But there are more councils looking to adopt this model in the near future.

As is the convenient method these days, apps such as Caura’s own driving management version seem the most efficient way to go.

The poll also found that more than two in three drivers (66%) would rather use an app to remind them to pay any charges in order to save fines. This particular result was surprising considering 58% of drivers aged 55 and older – an age group arguably more accustomed to traditional, non-digital methods – said they’d prefer to use an app to keep on top of driving charges.

It’s time to switch on

Dr Sai Lakshmi, CEO & Founder of Caura, says that “TfL experienced a wave of hurdles”, not least websites that couldn’t cope. Drivers were desperate for easy access to info there and then. The confusion was blamed for  “leaving motorists stranded and unable to verify their vehicle’s eligibility for the latest set of regulations”.

“Incidents like these highlights exactly why drivers in the UK require a streamlined and capable platform, that takes the stress out of maintaining and owning a car, which has already proved difficult with increasing environmental pressures.

“More worrying, the results from our study conducted by YouGov are shocking. This should be a wake-up call to drivers in the UK who aren’t embracing the benefit of technology to help make their lives easier.”

Caura is a free-to-download app, available on iOS and Android.